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Man Inherits a Property and Rents to a Troublesome Tenant, But He Can’t Believe Who She Lists as Her Reference.

When a middle-aged man, the Original Poster (OP), inherits a property and rents it to a troubled single mother, Jamie, he steps into a whirlwind of non-compliance and destruction. Their story takes a heated turn when Jamie begins using OP as a reference, leading him to make difficult choices between personal integrity and human empathy.

The Inheritance

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OP, a 56-year-old man, finds himself the owner of his late brother’s property. Having no use for the property, he debates between selling or renting out the property. Intrigued by the prospect of generating passive income, OP decides to rent out the property and becomes a landlord.

The Landlord

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At first, the OP has positive experiences with several good tenants until he encounters Jamie, a single mom of three. Jamie, despite being a first-time tenant, shows no regard for the rules, resulting in a tumultuous tenancy filled with late payments, damage, and unexpected guests.

The Violation of the HOA

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Jamie’s blatant disregard for the Homeowners Association (HOA) rules emerges as a major issue. Despite repeated explanations, Jamie’s daily violations of the HOA rules accumulate an $800 fee. When she refuses to pay, OP is left to foot the bill.

The Eviction

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The OP finally evicts Jamie after four months of chaos and financial burden. This decision, while difficult, is driven by Jamie’s damaging behavior and lack of respect for property rules.

The Unexpected References

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Post-eviction, OP starts receiving calls from potential renters inquiring about Jamie. To OP’s surprise, Jamie has been listing him as a reference, expecting him to provide a “neutral” account of her tenancy. OP refuses to sugar-coat his experiences and provides honest, albeit negative, references.

The Unintended Consequences

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Jamie, struggling to find a place due to OP’s honest references, reaches out directly. She shares her unfortunate circumstances, including the loss of her job and her living conditions with her abusive mother. In a desperate plea, she asks OP to change his stance and provide neutral references to prospective landlords.

The Plea for Sympathy

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Despite her previous misdeeds, Jamie shares her fears of homelessness, attempting to elicit OP’s empathy. She claims her current living situation is affecting her mental health, and she fears she may soon be kicked out. She blames her situation on OP.

The Staunch Stand

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Despite Jamie’s pleas, OP reaffirms his stance, reminding her of the havoc she caused during her tenancy. He firmly states that he will continue to provide honest references should any potential landlords inquire.

The Moral Dilemma

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OP finds himself grappling with the question: Is he the antagonist for potentially making Jamie’s housing search more challenging? Despite her earlier wrongdoings, OP is aware of the fact that his refusal to provide neutral references may directly contribute to her difficulties. The decision weighs on him heavily.

The Unexpected Return

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Just when OP thought this whole thing was behind him, Jamie calls him to beg for help. She shares that this has made it very hard for her and her children to find a place to live. Caught off guard, OP must decide whether to engage or turn her away.

The Unseen Casualties

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Jamie decides to pull at OP’s heartstrings and paint her children as the victims. OP continues to grapple with what to do, struggling with the morality of his decisions. He decides that it is best to be honest about the type of tenant she was when living on his property to protect other tenants in the future.

The Aftermath

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Jamie, not able to change OP’s mind, finds herself facing the harsh reality of potential homelessness. Meanwhile, OP is stuck feeling guilty for providing an honest reference.

The Community’s Response

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Word of the dispute spreads within the HOA, causing a rift among the local residents. Some sympathize with Jamie’s plight; others stand firm behind OP’s decision. The community becomes a battlefield, with OP at the center. With some of the community siding against him, OP considers if he’s wrong and should provide a more ‘neutral’ reference.

Was The Honest Reference Appropriate?

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The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter. Here are some of their responses:

Forum Responded

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One reader said, “If she wants a neutral reference, she should have been a neutral tenant.”

Another Commenter Thinks

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Another responder wrote: “At this stage, you are actively blockading a woman with three children from finding secure accommodation in the middle of a pandemic. Give her a neutral review, cut your losses, and move on. The alternative is that you keep punishing this woman – and, by extension, her children.”

A Third View on The Story

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A different person states, “ If she tries to contact you again for it, I’d almost consider telling her if she paid all back fees she owes, her recommendation would change from bad to did the right thing in the end.”

A Final Perspective on the Matter

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Another viewpoint on the story: “I rented out my house to a family who completely destroyed it. Their landlords gave neutral references, but later, I found out they were horrible tenants to them, too. Cost me so much money that I’ll never get back.”

What Do You Think?

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What are your thoughts on their actions?

What would you have done in this situation?

This story is inspired by a Reddit thread.

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